Tumblr might be the new Instagram

Photographers are disgruntled about Instagram.  I certainly am.  Last year the person in charge at IG announced that they were gonna be de-emphasizing photography and pushing video to compete with Tik Tok .  Well this didn’t work out as they get whooped.  So now the same person is saying that this was an over reach on his part.  Nothing really has changed as the platform is really now more geared to Tik Tok and reels.  Also their algorithm pushes some really weird crap.  Mine started to push Arabic posts - not that I have anything against this - it’s just that I have no interest!!

Someone made the suggestion that photographers should look to putting their work on Tumblr which I have been subscribed to for some time.  I wasn’t really using it much to post.  I decided to take the leap and start a whole new Tumblr called ColoradoPrairie  The first thing I noticed is all the ads.  Well for a little over $3 per month you can get rid of them.  This is a fair price.  My other place the I post film photography Grainery charges $3/month to upload, they don’t have ads.  So this is comparable.

Jesus in the Wheat

This is Jesus in the Wheat - I just found about this from surfing the ‘net - It is a double sided billboard off  I70 as you come thru Colby, Kansas.  Never noticed it before but there it is.

Wheat Jesus Billboard History

Wheat Jesus has been blessing Kansas motorists since the billboard was erected in 2009. 

A local couple, Tuffy and Linda Kay Taylor, were inspired by other billboards they’ve seen and decided to create their own. They hired a local artist, Phyllis Shank, to paint Wheat Jesus. The Wheat Jesus billboard purposefully does not have words; the Taylors wanted viewers to think for themselves, so its interpretation is up to you. You can find more details on the history of the Wheat Jesus billboard .

Sand Creek Massacre Exhibit

The Sand Creek massacre (also known as the Chivington massacre, the battle of Sand Creek or the massacre of Cheyenne Indians) was a massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho people by the U.S. Army in the American Indian Wars that occurred on November 29, 1864, when a 675-man force of the Third Colorado Cavalry under the command of U.S. VolunteersColonel John Chivington attacked and destroyed a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho people in southeastern Colorado Territory, killing and mutilating an estimated 69 to over 600 Native American people. Chivington claimed 500 to 600 warriors were killed. However, most sources estimate around 150 people were killed, about two-thirds of whom were women and children.

It has taken longer than it should to finally shine a light on the massacre.  This exhibit at the Colorado History Museum is a big step in this process.  Dialog is from the Indian perspective as is appropriate.  An interesting side light is that Territorial Governor Evans is buried in the same cemetery along with Silas Soule who is arguable one of the heroes  of Sand Creek for NOT letting the troops under his command enter into the massacre.  Here is a link to Riverside Cemetery here in Denver.

“A Misplaced Massacre” is highly recommended.  It is not only the story of Sand Creek but also a recounting of how we finally have a National Park Service site where we think the massacre occurred.  A very interesting read.

Nikon F2A

This is the predecessor to all the modern film Nikons:

Nikon F2 is a 35mm film professional, mechanical shutter SLR system camera by manufactured by Nippon Kogaku K. K., Japan (Nikon Corporation since 1988), introduced in 1971 using Nikon F mount for interchangeable lenses. It is the successor of successful Nikon F. Instead of an upgrade of Nikon F it is a completely new body only sharing with its predecessor the lenses, some accessories and the philosophy.
There are different versions of the F2 depending on the finder attached to the body. The body comes in chrome or in black. The plain prism finder DE-1 also comes in chrome or in black. All other finders are in black only.
Though very different internally, the F2 was made as ergonomically identical to the original F as possible. Even the weight of the body with the initial DP-1 finder was kept within an ounce of the weight of the departing F with an FTN finder. But the improvements were extensive: • Extended shutter speed range of 10s to 1/2000 and 1/80 flash sync
ISO 6 to 6400 with initial DP-1 head
• Larger reflex mirror to minimize viewfinder vignetting with some lenses
• Shorter 120 degree stroke, and integrated On/off switch in film advance lever
• Rounded contour body for better ergonomics
• Rewind crank with a 6mm raised position for easier manual film rewinding
• Removable hinged back 

These images were shot on Rollei Paul & Reinhold film which is rated at 650.  I was very happy the way they turned out.  The lens was a very slow f/3.5 35-70 Nikon zoom which in the past I thought was a pretty sharp optic and these photos confirm that.  The exposure window is sometimes hard to see and if shooting in low light it is not possible to see it at all.  Hence the invention of LED lights to indicate correct exposure.   But overall a very nice experience.

End of an Era

The Porsche 911-996 has left the building!  Decided to sell it which was no easy task and in the end had to take less than I was hoping for.  I had a good run using it at Highplains Raceway out of Byers, CO but I was gonna have to put some more $ into it for tires and other minor things = but at Porsche pricing minor things are still mucho dinero.

Lynne Cohen Photographer

A mystery wrapped in surprises.  Many years ago I was given this book of photography, The Photographer’s Choice.  As I’m thumbing thru it I came across this 2nd picture:

The 3rd photo is of the picture that had been hanging in our basement since whenever.  Then I thought for sure this photograph had been taken in the waiting room of my Father’s office.  It had all the period correct furniture.  So began my chasing this down.  I found out how to get ahold of Lynne Cohen and sent this letter to her.  I received a nice reply and my surmise was all wrong.

Then the next phase to find out who did this painting.  Well it turns out that the copy that I have inherited is not an original :(. Nonetheless it’s a part of my visual memory growing up.  I have always loved this picture.  It used to hang over the upright piano in the basement.  So frequently when I was bored with practicing the piano I would look up at that picture.  The frame is made of worm wood and is a perfect match to the picture.

The artist for the ‘Cowboy Picture’ was Ray Strang:

Ray C. Strang (1893 in Sandoval, Illinois, United States – 1957) was an American Western artist and illustrator. He was educated in Centralia, Illinois, and attended the Art Institute of Chicago, Art Students League of New York and New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. Strang’s education was interrupted by The Great War, in which he was wounded in the Forest of Argonne.[citation needed] During World War II, he took part in the Consair art colony at the Tucson division of the Consolidated Aircraft corporation. For 17 years Strang was a successful illustrator in New York for such magazines as The Saturday Evening Post, The American Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, Country Home Country Gentleman and Harper’s. He created covers for Dodd, Mead and Company and other publishers.[citation needed] He then went West to become a well-known painter who specialized in nostalgic depictions of the Wild West and the prairie life. His paintings hung in many galleries, including Grand Central palace in New York, Bender Gallery in Kansas City, Alden Gallery in St. Louis, the Chicago Art Institute and the New York Art Center. His most famous painting was a work called “Slow Poke”, of which there were many reproductions printed.
Strang was an active member of the Fine Arts Association, Palette and Brush club and belonged to the Salmagundi Club of New York City. He had a ranch near Safford Peak in the Picture Rocks section of the Tucson Mountains, where he died in 1957. Ray Strang did many paintings including “Playmates” which is a canvas painting of two foals. He married and had a son. 

Now a little about Lynne Cohen

Cohen was known for her photographs of empty institutional interiors: living rooms, public halls, retirement homes, laboratories, offices, showrooms, shooting ranges, factories, spas, and military installations. Despite this interest in living and working spaces, Cohen’s photographs are usually devoid of human presence.She photographed using an 8 x 10” view camera, allowing her to capture great detail, and create very large prints beginning in the mid-eighties. Her work has been published in catalogues such as Occupied Territory (1987) and No Man’s Land (2001).In one of her last monographs, Cohen described a major goal in her work, a “long-standing preoccupation with formal, intellectual and ideological camouflage.”

Charley Crockett - Artist of the Year

For me, Charley Crockett is the artist of the year.  He might be heir apparent to Dwight Yoakam and certainly is a breath of fresh air for the country music scene.  I doubt they have noticed as mainstream C & W has drifted off beacon and beyond the buoys!  His music combines sounds that I’ve never heard together before.  I can almost hear the noisy air conditioner and clink of water glasses as I walk into some distant honky tonk bar.

And this he has done beautifully

I Shall Be Released

I have one more day being under contract with Centura.  This will be my last time with Centura and I’m happy as hell about that.  There have been so many former Centura employees that have quit, fired , discharged who are competent, compassionate.  We could start our own hospital system.  

Tony Vaccaro has left the building

It is with sadness that I learned that one of my favorite photographers, Tony Vaccaro has passed.  Born December 20, 1922 he just made his 100th birthday.  I started following him once I purchased his book ” Entering Germany” .  This book was born of photos he took while serving in WWII in Europe.  Ever since then I followed him on social media, most recently Instagram.  His work was shown at Monroe Gallery in Santa Fe which I would visit almost like a pilgrimage.  He came down with COVID months ago and I thought that might be it for him but he rallied to make it to his 100th.  He will be missed.

Diane Arbus Documents

I recently treated myself to this new book about Diane Arbus - think of it as a scrapbook of notices of exhibits.  I find her work to be one of the most ground breaking of the 20th century.  To be sure this opinion is not universally held.  Here are some of the controversial photos

A quote by Sir Cecil Beaton about Diane Arbus: “ I think she must’ve been a mess – no wonder she killed her self. She knew sorrow, but had no compassion. I am sad that those poor people trusted her and did not realize – in the case of the nudist pictures-that she is just there to make fun of them.”

Then we have: Terence Donovan: “She is the outstanding photographer of the last 10 years, simply because she’s done it differently. ”

And finally from my least favorite critic Susan Sontag:  Sontag promoted the idea that Arbus only photographed “freaks“

Sontag Sontag, perpetuated the idea, initially promoted by the critic, Gene Thornton,  in the New York Times, that Arbus sough to represent the people she photographed has freaks. In fact, Arbus use the individuals she photographed as freaks only as a term of occupation, description. Unfortunately, this other definition of her works still is common place. 

This is erroneous in my opinion.  Here is an extended negative critique of Susan Sontag as published in the Telegraph.co.uk

I wish I had kicked Susan Sontag

By Kevin Myers  

If ever a single person was living proof that intelligence is a meaningless quality without modest common sense, it was Susan Sontag who died last week. The reverential tone of the obituaries served to confirm that self-proclaimed intellectuals, no matter how deluded or preposterous, exert a strange, intimidating power over non-intellectuals – especially if they employ that infuriating literary device, the epigram. 

Beware the epigramista. Beneath the veneer of apparent profundity of the epigram’s internal contradiction, there is usually a deep well of meaninglessness, from which other intellectuals can extract similarly worthless academic baubles. The foremost proponent of the apparently profound but actually worthless epigram was Oscar Wilde – as in “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.” Haw haw haw. Dashed good, that, what? Only it isn’t. It’s flummery coated with a cheap and not very clever glitter. And such epigrams were what Sontag specialised in. Interpretation, she said, was “the revenge of the intellect upon art. Even more. It is the revenge of the intellect upon the world”. 

Can’t you hear the well-informed, mannerly discussions between all those New England professors with their bow-ties and tweed suits and rimless spectacles? But would that someone had treated Sontag in life as Dr Johnson had disposed of Bishop Berkeley’s contention that objects only exist because we see them: kicking a stone till he bounced off it, he snarled, “I refute it thus.”

I ran into her once, and my abject failure to give her the Johnson refutation haunts me still. Indeed, it might well be my greatest single delinquency, in a far from blameless life. It was in Sarajevo, during the siege in 1993, and she had arrived to stage a Bosnian version of Waiting for Godot. If memory serves – and possibly it doesn’t, no doubt clouded by guilt that I failed to put the wretched woman over my knee and give her a sound spanking – she had each of Beckett’s characters played by a Bosnian Muslim, a Bosnian Serb, and a Bosnian Croat.

By my personal reckoning, the performance lasted as long as the siege itself. It was mesmerisingly precious and hideously self-indulgent. As inexcusable as the pretentious twaddle she had mounted on-stage were her manners off it. I have occasionally seen egregious examples of de haut en bas, but I have never seen anything as degrading and insufferable as her conduct towards the Sarajevans. And as far as I could judge, she never listened to any of them, but only uttered lordly pronouncements as she held court in the Sarajevo Holiday Inn, while outside scores daily died. 

Meanwhile she ostentatiously disdained us hacks even as she sedulously courted us. It was a grotesque performance. My real mistake was not radioing her co-ordinates to the Serb artillery, reporting that they marked the location of Bosnian heavy armour. My own life would have been a cheap price to pay.

All right, so she read 10 books a day: but a brilliant intellect can often be the companion to a truly asinine personality – so step forward, Susan Sontag, and take a bow. Admittedly, the vainglorious silliness that was her most salient characteristic did not lead her to embrace the Marxism of so many similarly silly Cambridge intellectuals. But it did cause her to emulate within American public life the role of “intellectuals” in France: insufferably self-important and posturing creatures like Barthes, Foucault, Derrida. They were best characterised in the immortal words of that truly great English philosopher, Terry-Thomas: “What an absolute sharr.”

But wretched, credulous, self-hating American academia wanted to fawn on an intellectual whom popular culture could celebrate, and it chose Sontag and her vapid aphorisms. “The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own;” or: “What pornography is really about, ultimately, isn’t sex but death;” or: “Sanity is a cosy lie;” or: “Good health is the passing delusion of the doomed.”

Well, actually, the last one is mine. We can all do this kind of poser-cleverness, but we’ll never find our way into any dictionaries of quotation because one has to have a certain academic status before one’s pseudo-sage declarations come to be exalted as “sayings”. Yet Susan Sontag, the ridiculous heroine of US campus culture, couldn’t even count to three: “The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony.”

What’s it to be, Susie babe? Jewish seriousness? Homosexual aestheticism? Or homosexual irony? But hey, what about Jewish irony? Or Jewish aestheticism? Or homosexual seriousness?

Such bilge can only exist in Englitish, the impenetrable campus-dialect in which English literature is analysed, discussed and then buried. Susie’s gone now, but no doubt some other tongue will soon be babbling comparable Englitish gibberish in her stead. Meanwhile, I am left with the melancholy reflection, that yes, once I had my chance – and I bloody well blew it.

In Documents there are extended discussions of Sontag vs. Arbus.  Much of the diatribe by Sontag appeared 2 years after Arbus’ death - seems to me to be a cheap shot.  It doesn’t appear that Sontag ever engaged Arbus in a discussion of why she photographed what she did.  Her sentinel book  On Photography is so bad in my opinion that I had to sell it on eBay to get it out of the house.

Eastern Colorado

Goodland, KS


Flagler, CO

Some BW that I shot on my last trip to KS for 2022.  Shot with a Leica R4 and a 35-70 zoom on Adox Silvermax.  It was developed in the Silvermax developer but I’m not impressed with any kind of ‘zing’ with the outcome.  Is it the film or the developer?  Don’t know.

Thanksgiving in the Ozarks

NWA Airport

Johnny Morris Museum

Top of the Rock



We spent this Thanksgiving in the Ozarks with my brother and his wife.  We had spent the previous month touring the Ozarks on an Airstream Caravan but saw all new things.  Spent time at Johnny Morris’ Top of the Rock which was interesting.  We had a phenomenal T-giving dinner prepared by my sister-in- law.  

You Learn Something every Day

While preparing a lecture about B and W photography I came across the suggestion for Digital shooters to shoot RAW + jpg.  Set your creative or scene settings to B & W.  This way you get your color image in RAW but a jpg that is B & W to see how it would look like in black and white.  I tried and it was nice.  The photo above was the jpg that was tweaked.

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